EXPORT INSPECTIONS

                This week, same as the last, with some early market closings Thursday, with all markets closed Friday.  All our reports are out on time this week starting with our Monday 10:00 am weekly export inspection report.  It put wheat inspections at 10.6 million bushels inspected by the U.S.D.A. for near-term export, down from 13.3 the week prior, 13.5 on our four-week average, but up from a weak number a year ago of 4.5 m.b.  It is what it is:  a weak demand signal near-term. 

                Corn inspected for near-term export was 27 m.b. versus 18.8 the week prior; 24 a year ago; and four-week average of 26.2.   It is not a great number, but considering it is a holiday week with less port shipping days, it's pretty good.  The huge western and upper-plains storms have left barge and rail traffic very slow leaving cash elevator bids up $0.30 the last two weeks as an incentive to get the corn to move.  Cash has a way of doing that. 

Soybean inspections were 51.9 million bushels versus 33.7 the week prior; 33.5 a year ago; and over our strong four-week average of 45.7.  Key world-buyer, China, was in for 38 m.b. versus the four prior weeks of 18.7; 43; 29; and 57 m.b.  China's pushing now.  They know two weeks of snow has 80% of the grain on farms and country elevators snowbound and/or moving slowly, draining the flow in the pipeline.  They just see nothing other than their needs and that won't change in 2010.

Weather updates have the next three weeks as below to much below normal temperatures across the Midwest.  This tells all - that the snows in the western and upper-plains isn't going to melt, leaving the corn that is covered to sit there until spring now ,as late January and February certainly won't bring heat.  This all had grains sharply higher on Monday after year-end profit-taking wound down early last week.

Tuesday saw the turn-around Tuesday effect with lower openings on all the grains, but two-sided trade was active through midsession.  Wednesday sees grain in a followers-roll to the energy market as the crude oil inventory report comes out at 9:30 am when the grains open and drags everything along for the ride.  Thursday, markets close noon Central Time, but we will trade the pre-open weekly export sales report which should be bullish beans and friendly corn.  We expected a higher close over the week prior as it appears index-fund year-end selling is over but don't expect anyone to pile on long either as most await the start of the new year, January 4, to get positioned off their thoughts.

March corn has minor support at 4.12 then 4.02 as a buying range with resistance at 4.24.  We could see 4.40 if the January 12, U.S.D.A. crop report comes out more bullish than traders think.  But, the new-year start should bring in buying.  March beans have supported 10.20 with solid resistance at 10.60.  If we're going to hit 11.10, we need a bullish report on January 12.  Like corn, you should look to buy a dip near support on beans this week as a head-start prior positioning after January 4, for the crop report.

I will post a more lengthy report Thursday to gather all the near-term fundamentals so we're ready for the New Year.